Looking Forward to Move Forward

 

The Association of Women Surgeons is pleased to launch "Looking Forward to Move Forward," a new series dedicated to highlighting the thoughts of fantastic women surgeons and surgeons-in-training on mentorship, AWS, and hopes for the future of surgery.


Amber Maria Sheth, MD MPH

Resident Representative
Association of Out Surgeons & Allies

Who has served as a mentor to you?
Drs. Sharon Weber, Lauren Nosanov, Alexis Moren, Andrew Schlussel, and Jackie Garonzik Wang

How have mentors impacted your career?
My mentors push me to think beyond my goals and towards my dreams. They have given me opportunities for both career and research development and make me feel like I have a place in surgery. Having the wonderful mentorship and sponsorship that I've had opened up doors that I didn't even know existed!

What impact have AWS & AWSF had on your path to surgery?
Both the AWS and AWSF have given me a community of surgeons who are passionate about what they do. I struggle with imposter syndrome so having the acceptance and support of fellow women surgeons makes a world of difference as I go through residency!

What are you looking forward to seeing accomplished, either in your personal career or in the larger surgical community?
It is my personal and professional goal for LGBTQ+ people to feel accepted, welcomed, and celebrated when they seek surgical care.


Abra H. Shen, MD

PGY-3, Plastic Surgery
University of Washington

AWS and AWSF Recognitions

  • 2022 AWS 40 Under 40
  • 2021 Dr. Patricia Numann Outstanding Medical Student Award
  • 2020 AWS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference Award

Who has served as a mentor to you?
Dr. Susan Pories

How have mentors impacted your career?

My mentors have supported me from medical school to residency and have always generously given me their time, support, and confidence, which are invaluable to an aspiring surgeon. They continue to provide sponsorship for opportunities I didn’t even know could be available to me. I will always be grateful to them for investing in me and my dreams.

What impact have AWS and AWSF had on your path to surgery?
From attending AWS annual meetings, to serving on the AWS National Medical School Committee, to working the surgery attendings at my residency program, I’ve met so many amazing women surgeons through AWS and AWSF. I’ve gained leadership skills and made lifelong friends. I feel comfortable reaching out to any AWS member for support and hope to be able to offer the same to future trainees.

What are you looking forward to seeing accomplished, either in your personal career or in the larger surgical community?
In the larger surgical community, I’m optimistic that there will continue to be wide-ranging collaborations that advance our knowledge and practices. I also wish for more programs and support for people from diverse backgrounds to learn about and pursue surgical careers. As for myself, I hope to be able to serve as a mentor to future trainees and be an excellent surgeon for my patients.

 


 

Anna Olds, MD

Cardiothoracic Surgery Resident
University of Southern California

Who has served as a mentor to you thus far in your career?
Dr. Nell Maloney Patel and Dr. Leonard Lee

How have mentors impacted your career?
I've been fortunate to have many mentors thus far. Dr. Nell Maloney Patel helped me start my medical school's chapter of AWS in 2018 and was an inspiration to me when I was thinking about the possibilities for my career in surgery. Dr. Leonard Lee has been a consistent mentor in the field of cardiac surgery for me since I was a second year medical student - he has continued to promote and support me, as well as be a role model for the type of surgeon and leader I aspire to be.

What impact have AWS and AWSF had on your path to surgery?
I started my medical school's (Rutgers RWJMS) chapter of AWS in 2018 as a third year medical student, and it has had a lasting legacy at my school. AWS resources, mentors, and networking opportunities have inspired me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Seeing women surgeons with both career and personal successes has motivated me to continue pursuing my goals.

What are you looking forward to seeing accomplished, either in your personal career or in the larger surgical community?
I am looking forward to starting the second half of my training in cardiothoracic surgery fellowship in July 2024 and truly learning how to be a cardiac surgeon. I recently completed a research project on infertility and pregnancy complications in female cardiothoracic surgeons that I am hopeful will lead to larger systemic changes to protect maternal-fetal well-being in my field. I'm also involved in various wellness task forces within our national organizations and I'm hopeful that the surgical community will continue to work towards prioritizing surgeon wellness.


Palca Shibale, MD MS

Who has served as a mentor to you thus far in your career?
Dr(s): Sherene Shalhub, Angela Gibson, Lauren Nosanov, and Lee Wilke

How have your mentors impacted your surgical career?
My mentors are amazing!! Early mentorship is the reason I chose surgery as a career. They continue to support my growth, serve as a source of knowledge, help me set goals and maintain accountability.

What impact has AWS and AWSF had on your path to surgery?
It has served as a source of community and inspiration seeing so many other women choose and thrive in surgery! Especially so as a Black Woman.

What are you looking forward to seeing accomplished, either in your personal career or in the larger surgical community?
I want to see decreased racial disparities in both surgical care and outcomes . I plan to be involved in local and/or national renewal of initiatives aiming to improve healthcare equity.